Arizona Cardinals: Top 3 notable takeaways from Wednesday’s practice - August 2nd

The Arizona Cardinals are taking a unique approach to training camp, and it is the right approach by any and all means.
Arizona Cardinals    Pat Elflein (50) attends the team   s training camp at State Farm Stadium in
Arizona Cardinals Pat Elflein (50) attends the team s training camp at State Farm Stadium in / Joel Angel Juarez/The Republic / USA

Remember the old days of training camp when players seemingly went all out twice a day for at least five days a week? Yeah, those days are long gone, but the Arizona Cardinals may be adding yet another new dimension to how NFL teams (and all football teams) should approach camp. 

It’s not too different from a method I, and many people, use in our own fitness programs. And it’s the key to longevity, something that is of utmost importance in the NFL. 

That said, it’s something I’m only too glad to see head coach Jonathan Gannon adopting as we dive deeper into training camp. And it’s the first of three major takeaways that I want to talk about from Wednesday’s practice. 

Top takeaways from Arizona Cardinals practice on Wednesday

1 - Undulating periodization 

The Arizona Cardinals rather unique approach should do one thing: Preserve their players from suffering burnout, fatigue, and ultimately, injury. Wednesday was a low-tempo day for the Redbirds, and they seem to be taking this approach a couple times a week. 

This is similar to undulating periodization in the world of fitness, and it has been a popular approach in the community for at least the last decade. If Gannon keeps this method going as is, the Cardinals should be a million times healthier entering the season than they were last year.

2 - Signs point to Cardinals getting young at corner

So far, we are seeing the formerly projected CB2 Antonio Hamilton working almost exclusively with the Second Team defense while Kei’Trel Clark and Christian Matthew are getting quite a fair share of work with the First Team. Matthew is the front runner and seeing more time than the former, and his sheer size should let him take on some of the game’s bigger, more physical receivers if he ends up lining up opposite of Marco Wilson.

Then there is Clark, a smaller, faster corner who can likely keep up with any receiver in the league from a speed standpoint. Overall, I wouldn’t mind seeing Gannon and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis place them BOTH at CB2 and line them up as it pertains to the players their opponents are lining up at receiver - Matthew would line up against the larger receivers while Clark would take on the quicker ones.

3 - Jon Gaines II shows off his versatility

Jon Gaines II played primarily guard in college, with limited work at center. In camp, however, he’s been seeing a lot of time at center until Wednesday, when he saw more reps at guard while Pat Elflein stepped into the middle of the line on Arizona’s Second Team.

Gaines was one of the most versatile offensive linemen in the NFL Draft this past April, and he’s showing off that versatility early in his NFL career. Meanwhile, Elflein continues to climb through the ranks as he becomes more acclimated to the Arizona Cardinals system. He should wind up with the First Team at some point in camp, perhaps following the first or second preseason game.


Source: New era notes: Cardinals’ Hollywood Brown focused on ‘getting right’ by Tyler Drake, Arizona Sports